Thursday, July 29, 2010

Mt. Lemmon Marathon Training Run #3

This time, it was just me and Dallas - the dynamic trail running duo.
We started at Molino Basin on Catalina Hwy. (about MP 6). We were once again blessed by cloud cover. Since it was a Thursday (I took the day off) we didn't have as much traffic or bicyclists to contend with. There were a lot of large trucks racing up the mountain doing construction - that was a little unnerving as we headed up the small 'bike lane' shoulder on the road.
Shortly into our run, I put on my iPod and realized that in the 'syching' process the night before, that it had removed all of my songs (dang iTunes!!) Dallas gave me his for the day. Dallas wins the kindness award - what a giving soul!

This marathon is going to be one of the prettier marathons around. Some of the scenery going up this road is just breathtaking.
We ran about 12 miles on the road to the San Pedro pulloff (Green Mt. TH) at MP 18. We made it in 2:39. Dallas had driven his car up the night before (filled with water/food, etc.) and biked home (30 miles?)
So, we had lots of goodies when we arrived at the Green Mt. TH entrance (Nutella wraps - Mmmmmm...yummy!) We took a 20 minute break, ate, and I changed into trail running shoes for our trail return downhill.
Although it is net downhill, the first climb on Green Mountain trail was tough. First time for us on this trail. Awesome views.  

The descent was a little rocky and steep, but overall, a very beautiful trail. It was about 5 miles until we reached Bug Spring trail.

Bug Spring trail has a steep climb, after which it follows a ridge line with some spectacular views and runnable portions. My uphill legs were shot by this point. Too many long runs too close to each other. Felt like I'd never be able to finish!

We got rained on the last hour, which was nice! We saw a desert turtle of some sort, which was neat.Took us 3:09 to return downhill on the trails.

Total time: 6:08 including 'aid station' break.
Distance: 23.5 miles
Approximately 4,000 feet of climbing, I think we were told? My Garmin isn't loading up on my computer currently, so I can't tell for sure.

I was glad to be done with that run, but at least I had a great trail partner!!!!
'When all your plans are made out lying on the floor
And all your dreams are turning into nothing more
When all your hope has left you know you're not alone
Just hold on...'
~ Lifehouse

You really never know what is just around the corner in life. Never give up hope.

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Mt. Lemmon Marathon Training Run #2

David, Tom, Chris, Renee, Dallas, and Darrel
Yes, another MLM training run with some of the same crazy crew from last week's run. We started at Windy Point, which is about 14 miles up Catalina Hwy. We were shuttled there from Sabino Canyon by Tom and Denise (thank you!) We ran the highway up to Palisades, about 5.5 miles. It is a fairly steep section of the road. We then hooked onto Palisades trail and took that down to East Fork and then Sabino Canyon trail. We returned on the Sabino Canyon tram road. About 5.5 miles uphill, 14.5 or so miles of steep downhill.

Total mileage: 20.44 miles
Total time: 4:41

Getting ready to get started:

My favorite part of the Catalina Hwy. run is between Windy Point and Palisades - 360 degree views.
Having a lot of fun for a road run:
Me running down Palisades trail:

Me and Steve heading down Palisades. Steep downhill, rocky trail. Steve ran up from Sabino Canyon about 9 miles onto Palisades trail and met our group.
Dallas tearing up Palisades with a view of Thimble Peak in the background:

The happy couple:

What a blessing to have found Dallas, who is so gentle and loving. I have found a true partner in Dallas - both on and off the trail! He loves to spend time with me, no matter what we are doing! I love running with him.

We were also really blessed with some great cloud cover for the morning, but it really started to heat up as we descended. After getting on Sabino Canyon tram road, I was in survival mode; not only was I conserving water, but I was just downright overheated. Little slice of hell, actually! Dallas was smart and took a dip in the creek on the way back.

I have fried quads from the downhill, but it really was a great run. Everything was so green from the rain! Love the ocotillos.

"You're caught between the devil and the deep blue sea
You better look it over
Before you make that leap..."
~ Killers

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Mt. Lemmon Marathon Training Run #1

"Can we climb this mountain? I don't know
Higher now than ever before,
I know we can make it if we take it slow..."
~The Killers
Well, I did it.
Distance: 26.4 miles

This isn't the official marathon course, but we were looking to get elevation gain and distance. Well, we got it.  I know, most people don't do the whole marathon distance this early in training. We caught a lot of hell about planning this run, even from the ultrarunners in our group! But, hey, let's face it, we are ultrarunners! Marathon, no problem! I really wanted to get a sense of what I was up against.

Total time: 6:21
I predicted 7.5 to 8 hours. Better than I thought!
Over 6,500 feet elevation gain.

9 of us started at milepost 'Zero' on Catalina Highway at 5am, with Raoul catching up to us later.
No, Dallas and I didn't plan that color coordination. Matchy, matchy!

One hilly mile down, 25 more to go!

Pam went to Windy Point and back down a few miles for a total of 16 miles. David ran 9 miles before showing up at Zero and ran 14 more to Windy Point. Mike ran to Windy Point and back down for a total of 28 miles. Chris ran to Palisades for about 19.5 miles and got picked up by Denise who ran 10+ miles. The rest of us...

we ran the course of THE WORLD'S TOUGHEST ROAD MARATHON! 6 of us made it to Ski Valley from MP 0. That's awesome!
Thank you Dallas for being my #1 cheerleader, even though you were having some physical stuff going on that day. Dallas stayed with me the whole way! He'll be running the marathon with me on October 17th, too! (Happy Birthday to me! My birthday is October 20th.)

I was proud of myself and feeling very good at the end. My goal was to finish, and I did! Next time, I'll pick up the pace a bit, now that I know I can do it!

Order of finish at the top: Tom, Raoul, Dallas, me, Gene, and Steve. Dallas took a pic of the motley crew that we were:

Thank you to Ross' Prius for being our aid station at mile 12 and for Denise and Chris for providing aid at around mile 19.5. Without that, our run could not have happened.

The scoop:
I walked about 6-8 miles total; the rest, I ran slowly. I took walk breaks early on, walked the mile or so leading up to Windy Point, walked more between miles 15-19, and walked the last 1.5 miles into Ski Valley. There is a downhill portion after mile 20 for a few miles and I ran pretty well on that section.
Steve stopped at mile 18 and sat down - he was toast from the heat and humidity and we thought he was done. We went on, but he managed to get some aid from Chris and Denise, and he forged on with Gene and surprised us all by showing up at the top! You impressed the hell out of me, my friend. Here is he finishing the marathon in about 6:45, I think...?
Steve, who I am proud to have as a friend

After living in Tucson for 24 years, it was a joy to see the mountain up close on foot, instead of from the car on the way up. Very cool.
At the top - we are happy we are done!
Do we look like we just ran the World's Toughest Road Marathon course?
We'll be doing the entire marathon distance again on August 29th. It is believed that the actual marathon course will start around Agua Caliente Park and end in Summerhaven.
We'll also be doing multiple Mt. Wrightson ascents on August 15th (I'm going for 3 round trip ascents, which is 33 miles!) Anyone is welcome to join in! Just email me so we can plan ahead.

"But now I`ve found the velvet sun
That shines on me and you..."
~ The Killers

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Run with the Roosters 5 mile Race

Well, I did it again! I wasn't planning on it, but Dallas gave me a nudge and talked me into it. I have worked about 60 hours this week and the thought of getting up at 3am on my only day off didn't sound great. I couldn't pass up a race with Dallas, though, so I signed up!

I think I'm still asleep right before the race...
Start time was around 5am. This is a 5 mile road race out on Kinney Rd. in the Tucson Mountains. A little hilly.

Last year's finish time: 43:01 (8:36 min/mile pace)
This year's finish time: 40:46 (8:09 min/mile pace) Woohoo!
Am I super focused or what?  :)

This year, I was 2nd in my age group and last year, I was 3rd. A super fast gal from a lower age group got older, so she beat me out. Otherwise, I beat all the times from my age group from last year. I was happy with the improvement! Here I am getting my award from Race Director Steve Landau:
Steve calls me 'Pretty in Pink'!
Dallas came in 1st in his age group with a smoking fast time of 34:16 (6:51 min/mile pace!!!!!) Jeesh!
Steve called Dallas up as, 'Pretty in Pink's boyfriend'!!!!
We don't do much actual speedwork - we just run trails in the mountains!

My friend Steve did an aid station and my friends Shari and Mike did the race. I am so lucky to be surrounded by such wonderful people! I used to have very few 'real' friends 20 years ago.

It was a great race - perfect aid stations, after-race smoothies, Mexican breakfast, technical race shirts, a rooster trophy and personal interaction with the Race Director, Steve, who is a great guy.

I took a nice long 2 hour nap afterwards...

'So come on baby get those shoes on
And we can run away from here...' 
~ Tonic

Sunday, July 4, 2010

TTR Sunset 'Side Door' trail run - PR!

I've done this 17 mile 'figure 8' trail loop 4 other times and my fastest time was 4:53.
Today - 4:33!!!! Was feeling good, I guess. :)

The usual suspects:

Sunset trail is the back way into Marshall Gulch area near Summerhaven, which can be fairly crowded. This is the run I did two times the week before Memorial Day.
Saw a mountain lion paw print!

Fun day out there with friends. Dallas came in first at 3:45! In this picture, I think he is giving me a look because I thought he was joking when he told me his finish time! Awesomely fast. What a cutie.
I've worked a lot of OT lately, so I haven't had much time to blog. So, as a lazy blogger, I'll just link to the rest of my pictures!

'Nobody trips over mountains. It is the small pebble that causes you to stumble. Pass all the pebbles in your path and you will find you have crossed the mountain.'
~ Anonymous